Monday, January 13, 2014

Weaselhead Park Reopens


CALGARY – More than six months after a devastating flood hit Calgary, citizens can once again fully access Weaselhead Flats.

The southwest park had been closed since the June flood when a number of undetonated explosives were uncovered. The explosives are remnants of training conducted by the Canadian Armed Forces from 1908 to 1998.


“The presence of unexploded ordnance in Weaselhead is nothing new, but there was some concern with the significant movement of soil and vegetation from the flood that exposed previously buried ordnance,” says Chris Manderson, Natural Area Management Lead with The City of Calgary Parks.

“Based on that risk, we’ve been working with the Department of National Defence (DND) to determine the extent of the risk and what was needed to ensure that we could reopen the park safely.”

Warning signs have been placed in the park to alert users to the possibility of explosives and brochures have been distributed to the Weaselhead/Glenmore Preservation Society. The brochures are also available in the park and on calgary.ca/parks.

“We’ve followed the advice of DND, which considers the park to be safe. We expect the likelihood of finding more ordnance to be remote,” says Manderson.

For this reason, Manderson says, people should stay on designated pathways only. There is potential for explosives to exist in areas off the pathways. Manderson also adds that these areas are already considered off-limits to the public to protect the natural environment as per the Parks and Pathways Bylaw.

Weaselhead is a cherished Calgary park and a popular place for schools to take educational field trips due to evidence of its military training history and unique natural environment. The park contains visible features such as trenches and foxholes, which can be found in portions of the park and has one of the largest strands of coniferous forest in the city.

Visitors to the park are asked to adhere to the DND’s guidelines if they see something that looks like an explosive:
  1. Do not touch it! If the explosive is disturbed, it could explode and cause serious injury or death;
  2. Leave the area; and
  3. Call 9-1-1 and report your findings to the police.

 For more information, please visit calgary.ca/parks.

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